Fell's Belles! Thank You, Mells?
6th February 2008
is of course possible to park between the two Mells,
Little and Great, and to treat them both as quickies
straight up and down- a sort of “Wham! Bam! Thank You,
Mam!” approach to ticking off Wainwrights.
I was seeking a more satisfying way of turning this
completion of the Eastern Fells into a proper walk;
more of a “Fell’s Belles! Thank You, Mells!”
Mell Fell from Matterdale Church
Mell Fell from Ulcat Row
was Bryan‘s absence in Tenerife that provided the opportunity
for me to complete the book- he is saving Little Mell
Fell for his great sweep-up of one from each volume
to complete all seven Wainwright Lakeland Fells books
in once day. And as Stan and Tony both needed
the Mells, it was too good an opportunity to miss on
a fine but windy day when the higher tops were
seemed to be a logical circuit starting from the pub at Troutbeck
(Cumberland’s John Peel related version) but Jesty Wainwright
describes the northern approach to Little Mell Fell
as being muddy and blocked by a barbed wire fence. I
had constructed an alternative convoluted possibility
but then I discovered David Hall’s Lake District Walks
and his route coming from the south.
I feel smug about his disparaging remarks about fell-baggers?
It was more like being reassured by his comments
and photographs that the area was worth visiting in
its own right, coupled with the inspiration to incorporate
the delightful Matterdale
A pub would have to wait.
parked just beyond Matterdale
Church and, after a false
start in the separate graveyard, found the back entrance
to the Churchyard. This really is a superb little Church
in a spectacular position.
View from Matterdale Church- Little Mell Fell and Gowbarrow
inscription on the beam dates the church (or at least
the beam) as 1573.
But what does LPIALWPI/W
Person In At Lunch Will Pray In Wellies?
Parson In A Long Wet Puddle In Wasdale?
Pretend Inscription's A Legitimate Word Puzzle In
on a postcard, please.
inspecting the inside, we set off for Ulcat Row, despite
the fact that this meant temporarily losing the sun.
I chose this route rather than David Hall’s valley
route because the OS map showed another church there.
However, what had been a tiny chapel has now been
converted to domestic use.
afterwards we spent a few minutes watching a kestrel
hovering, swooping and then resting in a tree awaiting
his next victim.
2½ miles of back roads we reached The Hause.
Here Tony stopped because he needed an injection
of Oxo before tackling the steep slope of Little Mell
Stan, on the other hand, does not like stopping
in case he seizes up, so he strode off up the hill. I
waited with Tony whilst he had his quick glug, by which
time Stan was a good 100 yards and probably 100 or more
vertical feet ahead, which presented a bit of a challenge.
Could I pull the gap back before the top?
summits Little Mell Fell
But only just, I was puffing like billy-o!
Mell Fell with Blencathra behind from Little Mell Fell
descended to the path that heads round the base of the
hill to Lowthwaite, with its abandoned buildings and
machinery that got Stan and Tony quite excited and then continued on the road to Greenrow.
I thought navigation across the valley might be
tricky as the map implied a zig zag but I had not anticipated
the trick played on us by the kind person
who has established a permissive path to “The Hill”.
We thought this might take us across via a small
tarn that is not shown on the map but it bent round
and took us in the wrong direction entirely. Tony was
deeply disappointed. I suspect he wanted to sit
in the tarn to eat his lunch.
had to retrace our steps to find a footpath that is marked on the map but not, initially, on
the ground. Three deer ran off across a field- one not
managing to jump the fence! From Brownrigg
Farm we took the track that skirts
Great Mell Fell. We had intended to get the climbing
out of the way before lunch but we had lost a lot of
time and Tony was getting desperate so we found a sun
trap for lunch.
in the sun trap
climb up Great Mell Fell was not quite as steep as that
on its little
Mell Fell from the ascent of Great Mell
with Place Fell behind
view was spectcular but it was perishingly cold on the top with wind
from Great Mell Fell (click to enlarge)
The descent towards the old rifle range
was just about as steep as I can manage without feeling
kamikaze. Stan, however, has no such inhibitions
and gambolled down the slope like the proverbial spring
cart track with Great Mell Fell behind
We circled round to leave the fell where
we joined it then doubled back along old and rather
muddy cart tracks, emerging near Matterdale End and
another building for Tony to take on as
a project. What made it particularly
exciting for him was that it had its own
decommisioned post box!
I had another minor navigational conundrum; well, ok,
cock-up. I didn’t pay enough attention to the
very fine detail on the map and led us up a false trail.
When I admitted the error, I had to
endure cruel cries of “Bring back Bryan” till
they realised who had the car keys!
suppose I could have concocted a tale of trying to find
the only place on the walk where I could get a photo
of both Mells together!
and Little Mell Fells
found a curiously level and wide
grassy trail that took us back almost to the car. We
wondered for what such a path had been constructed?.
Had I only looked at the map again, the term “Quarry
(dis)” might have been a clue!
was it “Fell’s Belles! Thank You, Mells!”?
This was a lovely walk. The Matterdale valley
is very wide and it was almost like walking around a
vast arena where the fells are the stands and we climbed
the north and east stands. The views most everywhere
are superb, particularly over to Blencathra and to the
Helvellyn range but also across to the Far Eastern Fells.
And although the Mells are relatively low, they
are real hills with steep climbs. And if two are
not enough, why not add the southern stand of Gowbarrow?
Or alternatively, if you don’t want the climbs,
just skirt the base of the hills- that would make a superb
yes! I have now completed the Eastern Fells!
6th February 2008
miles (Memory Map)
climbed: 2,395 feet (Memory Map)
Little Mell Fell, Great Mell Fell.
For the latest totals
of the mileages, heights and Lakeland Fells Books Wainwrights see: Wainwrights.
If anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let
me know and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!
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Avoiding the Graupel;
Lyth in the Old Dogs; 22 January
: That's Lyth;
: Tony's Memory Lane;
: Fell's Belles! Thank You Mells?
: The Langdale Skyline and a Fell Race!
An Outbreak of Common Sense;
Askham Fell and the Lowther Estate;
: Thanks to the MWIS
19th March 2008
: High Street and Kidsty Pike but no Fairy
: Prelude to Spring
2nd April 2008
: Spring in Lakeland
6th April 2008
Wet, Wet Sleddale to Mosedale Cottage
10th April 2008
: What's It All About, Tony?
17th April 2008
: The Hidden Mountain
22nd April 2008
: The Bowland CROW
1st May 2008
: High Cup Nick:
The Gurt La'al Canyon
7th May 2008
: Travelling Light
14th May 2008
BskiB08 : Bootski Boys in the Sella Ronda
23rd February - 1st March
Click on the photos for an enlargement or related large
has kindly produced a log of which Wainwrights have
been done by which Bootboy
in the "modern" era, i.e. since the advent
download the Excel file click on Wainwrights.
anyone wants to claim other peaks, please let me know
and I will submit them to the adjudication committee!
This page describes an adventure of BOOTboys, a loose group of friends of mature
years who enjoy defying the aging process by getting out into the hills as
often as possible!
As most live in South Lakeland, it is no surprise that
our focus is on the Lakeland fells and the Yorkshire Dales.
As for the name, BOOTboys, it does not primarily derive from an
item of footwear but is in memory of Big
Josie, the erstwhile landlady of
the erstwhile Burnmoor Inn at Boot in Eskdale, who enlivened Saint Patrick's Day
1973 and other odd evenings many years ago!
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